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Giraffes? Giraffes! - More Skin With Milk-Mouth CD (album) cover


Giraffes? Giraffes!

Post Rock/Math rock

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4 stars Giraffes? Giraffes is an instrumental two piece, playing a mean style of Math rock. At one moment you're hearing the most technical polyrhythmic drumming, and blistering guitar tapping, the next you may be listening to a completely toned down ambient section, this band knows how to get around. They're also a really fun band, the songs never get too technical to the point of overkill, and the soft sections never really get very dreary.

Really there is very little to say about such an album after you go aver the first song. When the Catholic girls go camping, the nicotine vampires reign supreme is some of the greatest three minutes in musical history. The song starts like any other Math rock song, guitar tapping, and the drums slowly getting more and complicated, playing to weird rhythms. Nothing to out of the ordinary yet, but you know something crazy's coming. All at once everything drops out, and there's only a guitar looping a couple if simple chords, then everything busts out, with another guitar playing a blistering solo, something I thought was against the very grain of math rock. And when you think the solo is over, the guitar player throws his pick away, and goes through one of the most powerful tapping lines I have ever heard! Driving, powerful, and completely non pretentious... just how I like it, some the crazy shredder guys have nothing on these math rockers. BTW, this song is streaming here on the archives, and if you read this review, then refuse to listen to it, you deserve a slap in the face.

Really, this is a band you need to hear, cause their music is really hard to pin down, yeah, it's not very far away from straight up Math rock, but at the same time, it would be a crime to compare them to Don Cab, or Tenebre. So please if you're looking for technical music, but tired of the pretentiousness, or if the more hardcore math rock groups were just too inaccessible, try this group out, you will not be disappointed. 4 stars.

Report this review (#176567)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Giraffes? Giraffes! is for sure a talented pair of musicians. There are great polyrhythms, interesting odd time signatures, and the music is never difficult to listen to. All the chords are great and sometimes things get downright beautiful. However, there is a bit of a problem with More Skin with Milk-Mouth: although there's wonderful music on the album, not much of it stands out. Most of it never goes beyond incredible, though there is some great music to be found.

It's not that the production or sound of the instruments are bad. Right from the beginning cool guitar tapping begins, and once the drums drop right in there's an interesting atmosphere surrounding the listener with textures along with the unusual rhythms, with a texture distantly related to Discipline-era King Crimson, though not nearly as dense and far more bright and cheery.

It's not that the compositions are bad either. The band is able to create plenty of free-form structures in this album, and although their music tends to repeat due to the genre, they have a unique use of phrasing that brings their songs to the fullest.

There are even plenty of great moments. Most notable is in the mouthful of a titled song " I Am S/H(im)e[r] As You Am S/H(im)e[r] As You Are Me And We Am I And I Are All Our Together: Our Collective Consciousness' Psychogenic Fugue", where towards the end a wonderful monologue giving an interesting perspective of dreaming and the nature of life comes in, backed up by beautiful ambience and post-rock lushness.

However, there isn't really tons to make this album stand out. It's very nice listening to it, but it isn't a masterpiece. Here's hoping that this great talented band can use these great sounds they have already developed and forge a masterpiece in the future.

Report this review (#218647)
Posted Thursday, May 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Giraffes? Giraffes! Is an unusual band that belong firmly in the math rock sub genre due to their high tech approach to rhythmic patterns and metrical shapes. The music is absolutely relentless from track to track with some diversions into ambience and space rock. Voice over narrations fade in and out and there is always a high degree of adventurous musical inspiration. The blasts of high speed trance rhythms are no more evident than on outstanding tracks such as 'I am Shimmer as we are Shimmer...' that shifts from a massive bass sound that would keep any metronome swinging wildly to a strange detour into a serene passage with voice over and ambient keys. Joseph and Kenneth are virtuoso but this will send some running as it is sporadic and demented jazz. A Multiple Progressive Disorder! It is difficult to describe as is any other track from these masters of techprog brilliance.

'When the Catholic Girls Go camping...' is another highlight featuring fret melting bass lines and scorching guitar solos and those pounding erratic drum patterns are ever present. There is guitar tapping blended with off kilter drumming and metrical shapes unlike any I have encountered.

This is a huge sound that the band are creating and as diverse as anything on the prog shelf. Try for yourself. I was pleasantly surprised at the adventurous approach to music Giraffes? Giraffes! adopts. ****

Report this review (#272675)
Posted Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must admit that post/math rock is not a sub-genre I am terribly familiar with. My only other experience with it so far has been Monos Hymn to the Immortal Wind, which to my understanding sits much closer to the post side of the genre. This album is supposed to be closer to the math side of the genre, so in reality my basis for comparison for the music on this album is relatively low.

Giraffes? Giraffes! are a band that convinces me there is a Lot of value to be found in this sub-genre. From the very first moment of their ridiculously titled opening track (which let's us know that, technical wizardry aside, the band weren't taking themselves too seriously and we shouldn't either), Giraffes? Giraffes! assault the listener with up-tempo bursts of musical wonder. Guitar patterns that bring circles to mind roll overtopping of insane drum patterns.

The high energy stuff isn't all the band is capable of, however, and the next track (named as an homage to the Beatles) reveals that the band can take their layering and apply it to slower, spacey sections where the circular riffs are replaced by spacey keyboards and effects. This leads to the only vocal section in the track, a spoken section musing about dreams and reality that is quite fascinating, before the circular riffs come back with a vengeance.

The only down side to this album is that what they do in the first two tracks, they do throughout the whole album. Regardless, they never stop being excellent, and I must admit that the crazy drumming does quite a fair amount to keep the music lively. It never drops below excellent quality, and the album, being just five songs, seems to run the perfect length. Great music.

Report this review (#290262)
Posted Tuesday, July 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars More Skin With Milk Mouth is, IMO, one of the best math rock albums released. It takes all of the complex time signatures and tempo changes of the genre, along with two brilliant musicians, and a whole lot of funk, and creates sort of a new sub-sub-genre for math rock. This is Joseph Andreoli and Kenneth Topham's second studio album, and third album (including their first live album, Live on KZSC), so the band has some experience. Their sound is way more polished and tight than on its predecessor, Superbass!!!.

Milk-Mouth opens with Giraffes? Giraffes!' most famous song, When The Catholic Girls Go Camping, The Nicotine Vampires Rule Supreme, once again proving how completely math rock Giraffes? are. The song opens with an open tuning riff Joe plays with his Digitech Whammy and after a short break, Ken joins him in an ultimate bashathon on his tiny drum kit. They alter 9/8 and 7/8 like never before before going into a groovy chorus on a paradiddle between 8/8 and 7/8. After a few of these, they go into a 4/4 break, in which Joe records a loop of himself playing a chord sequence, and then plays a smashing guitar solo on top. What occurs then is that the most awesome math-rock song is created!

The song then moves onto the song with probably the longest title in music history, which I will just shorten up to Shimer. Shimer is again, as are all Giraffes?' songs, a time signature pandemonium, made groovy with Ken's complicated yet simple drum beats. Joseph is a mean machine tapping riffs on his guitar that no human can ever play. This reminds me of early Tera Melos and even a bit of Battles. After a few minutes of bashing away on their instruments, the song moves into a quiet section, and when you think it's all over, it's back, and even greater! Joe, again, records himself on his looper and then plays an insane solo over. The song then again moves into a very beautiful quiet section, reminiscent of Godspeed You! Black Emperor (which are on the other side of this PA subcategory), and then back into the first riff. Then an amazing speech is played, back to the start, and finish.

Ghost of EPEPEPEPOOPEOEP (something)'s Ghost is the weakest track on the album. Joe records a quiet melody on his looper and then bashes on his synth while Ken plays some garbage in the background. This is also reminscent of early Tera Melos, although the wackier side. The guitar has a bit of Explosions in the Sky in it, but not as beautiful. Although, the song is short, and is mainly an interlude, so it's not that bad.

When the final chord is played, Giraffes? segue into Emilie Sagee's Secret, the heaviest track on the album. Metallic clinks and clangs play as Ken and Joe bash their mathy paradise unto our ears. After two minutes of awesomeness, they segue into a quiet riffy party, also reminiscent of GY!BE, and also a bit of Mogwai. The darkness and mysteriousness of it somehow, barely, reminds me of Sigur Ros, although it is much heavier. As Joe, once more, samples himself, he takes out a glockenspiel (?!) and rocks out a sweet riff, just before the band head back into the main riff, and race out.

A Quick One While She's Away is in my opinion the most accesible song on the album, It is light, it is catchy, and it is somehow poppy. Despite being 9 minutes in length and using various complex time signatures, it is very lightweight and fun. It reminds me of This Town Needs Guns meets Explosions in the Sky. Very upbeat, very cheerful.

Overall, this album is one of the greatest math rock albums, ever, and so, I give it 5/5 stars.

Report this review (#471233)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES! (punctuation mandatory) is a very tight math rock duo with two releases so far. The first release is good, though the production could be better, but with their second album, GIRAFFES? GIRAFFES! show incredible potential. The album is lightning-fast, instrumental math rock that bristles with energy. The album manages to be constantly dynamic, but still stop for air. It's short length (not even 30 min) may seem to be a detractor, but the album accomplishes everything it should. It's an exciting, original math rock album that represents all of the genre's abilities, and will warrant multiple listens, even in the same day.

Rating: 9/10

Report this review (#478476)
Posted Thursday, July 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars More Fun With Math-Rock

Giraffes?Giraffes!'s More Skin With Milk-Mouth is a uniquely crazed release. Here they successfully incorporate experimental layers to create a brilliant ying-yang relationship with the powerful math musicianship. The labyrinth of musical twist-and turns here really keep things interesting.

Joseph Andreoli's guitar work really appealed to me most on this album. He is a versatile player that has his technique fine-tuned, with tapping and shredding being most apparent. The drums do a fantastic job of filling up the otherwise porous sound, due to the band being a guitar/drums duo.

When The Catholic Girls Go Camping, The Nicotine Vampires Rule Supreme: Here is a fantastic exhibit of Joseph's canvas of guitar playing. The song begins with smooth tapping with indecisive drumming. The song takes a turn for more rock-oriented style, exploding into a wonderfully indulgent guitar solo that rides until the end with Kenneth crashing to add some weight behind the solo.

I Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Am S/h(im)e[r] As You Are Me: Being one of my all-time favorite math-rock songs, to me this is the pinnacle of the album. This time the drums step into the limelight. The fluidity and technicality is astounding plus the guitar licks and tapping really compose a kinetic intro. The energy dissipates into a length, airy bridge. The guitar continues to echo during the reintroduction of the strength of Giraffes?Giraffes!. The song ends with one of the most simple, yet powerful vocal samples tipped off with a heavy reprise.

The Ghost Of EPPEEPEE's Ghost : A vacuum of experimental tinkering and a deconstructed atmosphere. It's an interesting piece of work, but i feel that this should have been a theme in another song.

Emilie Sagée's Secret: Here the guys tamper with multiple heavy executions. Adhering to the entire drum set and creating multiple styles with the guitar. The only downfall to this track is it ends far too early. The abrupt ending makes me yearn for a further developed song. Though this doesn't make it a bad track!

A Quick One, While She's Away: A song sadly plagued by familiarity. The song came off to me as slightly recycled, but the quality of the band never dissolves or seems strained. It beings with more quick, precise drums over a restrained guitar, evolving into a sweet contrast-filled bridge. Some distortion enters with dense tom work to thicken things up. I admire this outro, as it summarizes the entire track well.

More Skin With Milk-Mouth is a excellent Math-Rock release and gets major points for creativity with the amusing theme changes and strength of musicianship. Though the release has it's flaws, it still accomplishes so much.

Report this review (#787897)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Giraffes? Giraffes! are a math rock duo whose members originally came from New England but later moved to California. Consisting of a guitarist and a drummer with no vocals. The guitarist sometimes uses looping effects so you hear more than one guitar at times. The drummer also plays some of the guitar parts and although the guitarist can also play drums, he does not on this album. This is the duo's second and most well known album. A short album but at least it's very consistent.

They can be stereotypical complex and fast math rock but also sometimes play chords and riffs. The music alternates between crazy math rock and more accessible indie rock. "When The Catholic Girls Go Camping, The Nicotine Vampires Rule Supreme" is the album opener you can listen to on PA. Complex math rock at its best. Some of the guitar playing here sometimes reminds me of some metal. About halfway goes into a simple riff along with some really rockin' guitar soloing. The title of the second track is both a reference to the Beatles' song "Come Together" and too long and weird to type in full...let's just call it "I Am S/H(im)e[r]..."

It is the highlight of the album and one of the best math rock songs I have ever heard. Although complex as hell, some of the guitar parts are memorable and stick in your head (at least mine anyway). Really great drumming in this track. They make room for some simpler riffs amongst all the madness. Before 3 minutes everything really mellows out with some simple and subdued guitar playing along with some kind of bells/xylophone (not exactly sure what it is). Halfway it picks up the pace again with more rockin' yet simple guitar lines. Later just cymbals and guitar noises as a spoken word part sampled from somewhere begins.

That spoken part is actually an interesting speech about dreams spoken in a way that sounds like it was recorded in the 1960s. After the speaker says the immortal line: "You would dream the dream of living the life you are actually living today," it goes back to the beginning part. Some of the tapping in "Emilie Sagée's Secret" sounds very bass-y although it's all done on guitar. Some clapping or similar noises in this track. Halfway it calms down a bit with some melodic strumming on guitar as the bells or whatever make an appearance. Some interesting guitar sounds in this song.

The title of "A Quick One While She's Away" is obviously a reference to the very similarly titled Who song. Another standout track. This is a very melodic song for math rock. At one point it sounds like acoustic guitar is being used; rare in math rock. I like the mix of crazy drumming and melodic guitar playing during that section. The music stops halfway before some noisy feedback-laden guitar takes over. The music builds up from this point and returns to earlier melodies and riffs. More Skin With Milk-Mouth would be a good introduction to math rock for those unfamilar with this type of music. I'll give this a 3.5 and round it up to 4 stars.

Report this review (#943122)
Posted Friday, April 12, 2013 | Review Permalink

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